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Sams Teach Yourself Ruby in 21 Days by Mark Slagell

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Abstraction and the General Case

In common speech, the adjectives “abstract” and “general” have connotations of vagueness, lack of substance, or unsuitability for real-life problems of one kind or another. (“His argument was rather abstract.” “That's too general a solution to apply to my situation.”)

In the realm of computer programming, however, abstraction and generalization have to do with some very nonvague habits of thought and program design.

To abstract” comes from a Latin root meaning “to pull or draw [something] away.” When you abstract from something, you pull or draw from it what you consider its essential, defining features. Abstract imagery works on this principle. A simple circle might represent a head, the sun, a coin, or the ...

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